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New Managers and/or New Teams - 26 October 2010

Last month, I became a vegetarian. Then last week I became a vegan. The documentary, Earthlings, was the cause of my conversion. (Don’t click on the link if you’re easily upset or offended.) It’s a film that uses secret cameras to expose the animal rights abuses that occur when animals are exploited for food, entertainment, science, clothing, and as pets.

Since then, I’ve spoken to many people about this documentary and a few have replied with this: “I don’t want to watch it because I enjoy eating meat too much.” So, basically, they don't want the film to spoil their dinner. When I was talking about this trend with a wise friend, Oonagh Moodling, she responded with a simple yet profound explanation: “They have made a conscious decision to remain in self-denial; to prioritise convenience over truth.”

What she means is that it’s easier to seek the convenience of an unchanged diet than it is to deal with the upheaval that comes with seeking the truth of what animals endure. Almost immediately I realised how this also applies in the working world whenever there’s a new pairing between a boss and a group of employees. It's easier to manage people based upon what's convenient rather than what's truthful. This newsletter is about the latter.

If you’re a new manager:

  • Seek the truth about your management style by asking for feedback, rather than seeking the convenience of managing the way in which you’ve been led in the past.
  • Seek the truth by discovering each employee’s unique motivators and communication preferences, rather than seeking the convenience of a one-size-fits-all approach.
  • Seek the truth by having honest conversations with people about their performance, rather then seeking the convenience of being everyone’s best friend.

And if you’re an experienced manager looking after a new team:

  • Seek the truth about the norms your employees are already accustomed to, rather than seeking the convenience of imposing your preferences upon them.
  • Seek the truth that you might not know as much about their role as they do, rather than seeking the convenience of being a know-it-all authoritarian.
  • Seek the truth by investigating any warning signs of problems or conflict, rather than seeking the convenience of ignoring them and hoping they’ll go away.

The documentary begins with a paraphrased quote from the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer on the three stages of truth: “First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.” Seeking the truth may not be an effortless or enjoyable process, but it’s the meat on the bones of your management style.

 

To download complimentary e-books on employee engagement, retention, and recruitment (valued at over $100), please click here.

 

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